Winners of the 2018 CEC Youth Innovation Challenge Announced

Selected from over 200 participants, the winners will present their groundbreaking ideas to CEC Council and receive C$5,000 in seed funding

Montreal, 31 May 2018—The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is pleased to announce the winners of the second Youth Innovation Challenge:

  • Lauren Smith and Nicole Balliston, Canada: Stop eating your dirty laundry – Our solution to microplastic pollution
  • César Asensy Maldonado Monter, José Luis Ortiz Robles, and Héctor José Garrido Rosales, Mexico: Management of wastewater and organic waste with the use of insects
  • Nima ShahabShahmir, United States: Future Fungi – An environmental solution to plastic issue

The CEC Youth Innovation Challenge invites and rewards innovative technology, science, and business ideas by North American youth, to advance sustainability and green growth.

“I congratulate the winners and applaud all the outstanding students and entrepreneurs who participated,” said Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency and CEC Council Chair. “The Youth Innovation Challenge encourages the next generation of leaders to apply their knowledge and creativity to solving real-world environmental challenges. I hope all the participants will continue to develop and advance technologies that improve public health and the environment.”

The Youth Innovation Challenge was held ahead of the 2018 CEC Council Session, taking place on June 26-27 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. Be sure to tune in to our live webcast on June 27 at 4 p.m. (Central Time), as the winners present their projects to North America’s top environmental officials.

The Challenge was open to North American students and young entrepreneurs, ages 18-30, who submitted their innovative solutions for improving both the environment and the economy in North America. Their ideas were crowdsourced—enabling submitters to capitalize on feedback from over 2,900 North American youth registered on the crowdsourcing platform. Over 200 ideas were evaluated by the CEC Idea Evaluation Panel and CEC experts, and nine semifinalists were selected to develop their ideas into full proposals. Winners were selected by the CEC Council.

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